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Where can I search for free public records?
If you’re searching for free public records in Mississippi, many vital records are easily accessible to the public. Mississippi birth certificates become public records after 100 years, while death certificates become public records after 50 years. Mississippi marriage certificates that were issued before 1926 are already public records. You can search through Mississippi’s archives of birth, marriage, and divorce records to find the information you’re looking for. However, be prepared to devote significant time to reviewing the records.
Are Mississippi Vital Records Open to the Public?
Some third-party websites make it easy to research specific types of vital records. These websites are often not limited to your geographic location and can provide a good reference point when researching records. In Mississippi, most state records are available to the public. However, the accessibility of these records depends on the type of record you are looking for and the year in which the birth, death, or marriage occurred. It is important to note that the data on third-party sites may differ from official government records.
To find a record on a third-party website, the person requesting must provide the following information:
- The location of the record you’re looking for, including the city, county, or state where it was recorded.
- The name of the person on record, if it is not a minor.
Mississippi residents have the right to inspect or obtain copies of public vital records under the Mississippi Public Records Act.
How to Verify if Your Vital Record is Official
To ensure that you have the official certified copy of your Birth, Death, or Marriage Certificate, you can verify what the documents look like depending on where they were issued. Each state, county, and municipality creates its own designs of vital records. Informational copies of vital records usually have a stamp or large print across the face of the document that reads “Informational, Not a Valid Document to Establish Identity” or something similar. To confirm that your certificate is a certified copy, you can compare it with the official, certified documents in the county where it was issued.
What Are the Differences between Authorized Copies Versus Informational Copies?
Certified copies, also known as authorized copies, are considered legal documents that can be used for official identification purposes. It’s important to note that these copies are only issued to individuals with a direct and tangible interest in the document. On the other hand, informational copies are not suitable for establishing identity.
There are different types of birth or marriage certificates available, such as short-form, unofficial (non-certified), “heirloom,” or “commemorative certificates.” However, it’s essential to understand that the informational copies of these certificates are only meant for personal reference or display purposes and are not official legal documents. While requesting informational copies, you do not need to provide a Sworn Statement. Informational copies are not acceptable for official purposes like establishing identity, obtaining a passport, or proving eligibility for benefits. They are mainly used for personal record-keeping or genealogical research. As per the Mississippi Public Records Act, citizens have the right to inspect or obtain copies of public records.
Find more references regarding birth, death, and marriage certificates in the resources section.